I'm a novelist and short story writer. I rarely write poetry, and know nothing about structure or poetical terms. In fact, I can count on one hand the number of poems I've written. Problems I come across is never being able to judge whether my poetry efforts are actually finished, since the more I look, the more words and phrases I find to replace another word or phrase with. And what does a poet do with a poem after it's written? My small store of verse is lurking in my poetry file, never to see the light of day again. I entered this one in a competition. There were one-hundred other entries, and my offering became the runner-up. There was an amount of money and a certificate. And then, there was the judge, a successful and deservedly respected poet in his own right. He saw something in my entry that worked for him as a poem. Last, but not least there is space on my blog . . .
Twelve months in an English village
1) I went there in the summer.
Waves of wheat, waves of water
Undulate and curl over the child,
A naked creature unashamed in hat
Sunshade and smoothed zinc balm.
She attracts a crust of sand grains, like
Sunday’s rhubarb crumble and cream.
Wasps in stripes drink cola and
Sharpen stingers in sugar.
Crabs swell inside their carapaces.
Boats slice the sea and cast sails wide
To capture the fuel in the wind
And follow the ferries to France.
2) It feels like autumn now
Soggy, the forest floor disturbs
Aromas of decay and mushrooms.
Above, fall wears drifts of metallic colours,
Brass, copper, gold, and bronze
Hazelnuts slide from shells and spiral
Blackberries plump drip and prick
Days shrink into contemplation as
Earth meditates to slow each heartbeat.
Like squirrels we scurry to store.
Apples lie in the attic, nuts nudge
Shoulders in jars, plums stew in syrup
And mice nibble in the grain.
3) So this is what winter is like?
The mist swallows the thatch
An apple tree tangled and gnarled
Splays naked limbs against a wall
Splashed with gaudy lichen.
Orange and red berries kiss pearls
Of mistletoe, holly stabs the air
Lies in wait for the draughts to stir and
Scratches fingernails against shutters
To mark the haunting hours.
The captive is offered no comfort by the firelight.
The remains of the hibernation rarely stirs
But the slap of the sea on shore is a frenzy.
4) A spring thing happens!
The pines have an over-abundance of sap.
Streams of slow, seeping amber captures a gnat
And congeals. It claims a maiden’s finger
Or presses a golden toffee against her breast.
Beneath the bridge the water scurries
And froths. Such a carry-on of drakes
Parading their territory like battleships,
Lady ducks are imprisoned by egg clutches.
Speckled troutlings dart in dappled light
Buds unfold into lambent country dancers,
A fiesta against a sky drenched in lapis lazuli
To celebrate a fruitful copulation.